The New York Jets have hit their lowest point during the Rex Ryan tenure, now the question is… whose fault is it? There is plenty of blame to go around, but the person who should be receiving the brunt of it is the General Manager, Mike Tannenbaum.
The Jets have not had back to back losing seasons since 1996 and have not had three losses by 21 or more in a season since 1967. Tannenbaum joined the Jets in 1997 as Director of Player Contract Negotiations and in 2006 was named General Manager. Since taking over the team, Tannenbaum has had a 55-52 record (counting the 2012 season thus far) and a 4-3 playoff record. These numbers are not horrific, but he has been helped greatly by the hire of head coach Rex Ryan, who brought the Jets to back-to-back AFC Conference Championship games.
Tannenbaum’s tenure has been riddled with questionable draft picks and signings. Vernon Gholston and Mark Sanchez are at the top of that list of bad first round draft picks. When he brought in Brett Farve, he was doing nothing but brining in media hype to a bad team. To Tannenbaum’s credit he did draft Darrelle Revis and D’brickashaw Fergusson, but trading up for Revis was pushed for by, then head coach, Eric Mangini.
What has really crippled Tannenbaum’s reputation as a GM has been his inability to bring in productive players on the offensive side of the ball. He has not been able to find any playmakers, especially for the wide receiver position. His best acquisition was bringing in Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth round pick. Holmes is not a number one receiver, he is a good/great number two guy when he is getting single coverage. His off, and on, the field issues have been a problem though and that has to go on Tannenbaum.
Besides Holmes, he took a shot with Braylon Edwards and Plaxico Burress who both were good role players at best. Taking a chance on troubled receivers is not a good way to bring in talent. He has not been able to find receivers in the draft either (aside from Kerley who is a good slot receiver, but that’s it) and he has not been able to bring in skilled free agents.
The 2008 offseason was Tannenbaum’s best job when he brought in Alan Faneca, Damian Woody, and drafted Shonn Greene. These seemed to work out great for the team, but the following year they let Faneca go and Greene proved he could not be the work horse for the team; Woody ended up retiring the following year.
Bringing in sustainable talent and consistently finding good players in the draft is where Tannenbaum has not been able to produce, so Woody Johnson should fire Tannenbaum as GM and let Ryan keep coaching. Ryan has not had a lot of talent on the team since he first joined the organization, but has still found a way to win. The smartest thing for Johnson to do would be keep Tannenbaum in as a “capoligist” because that is where is excels.